If you want to get fit, you need to do all types of exercises. While men often focus on strength training and women tend to do aerobics, both need flexibility, strength, endurance and balance training. Women especially need strength training to help fight bone density loss after menopause. Strength training is also tops when it comes to burning calories. However, many people are intimidated by these types of exercises, so I’ve put together a quick “Beginners Guide to Strength Training” guide to help.
You don’t need fancy equipment for strength training workouts.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have all the necessary equipment, such as a set of weights, to do strength training, this should put your mind at ease. There are all types of exercises that fall into the category of strength training. Some use your own body weight. Some require resistance bands, which are relatively inexpensive. For those exercises that use actual weights, you don’t have to have “official” barbells or dumbbells. You can use soup cans or other household items. I have one client that improvised by using two large plastic laundry detergent bottles. As she got fitter and stronger, she added water to the inside of each bottle to make the exercises more difficult. One client claims her overweight cats helped her get into shape. She used them as her weights.
Find exercises that are easy to learn, while also getting the maximum benefit.
If you choose a workout or exercise that is so complicated, you have to keep going back to the computer to see how it’s done, chances are, you’ll be far less likely to do it. If you’re doing circuit training and have more difficult exercises, you may have to take a small break to check the next movement, which interferes with the concept of doing one exercise right after another. Some exercises are better than others, so focus on ones that give you the most benefits. Push ups and squats are pretty basic and require no equipment, but they provide a lot of benefit.
Set your own pace.
While you don’t want to be too easy on yourself, don’t overdo either, especially when you’re first starting out. One of the worse enemies of working out is sore muscles. Pushing beyond your capacity can cause problems with form and that can lead to injury—especially if you’re working out at home without the guidance of a personal trainer. Remember, you need to continually make your workout harder, so stick within your comfort zone at first until you learn all the moves and build your strength. It goes slower this way, but when working out on your own, it’s the safest way to ensure you’ll be able to stick with a workout plan.
– If you’re using weights, keep them lighter until you’re familiar with the movements, then start adding more weight.
– Create a program of strength training with a number of different exercises and use them to circuit train once you know each one well.
– Make sure you include flexibility training and stretching when you’re working on strength. Flexibility training improves your range of motion and stretching warms the muscles. Both help prevent injury.
– Track the number of repetitions you do for each exercise. It provides a measured number of reps to beat as your fitness level improves. Winners keep score.